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Posts tagged ‘goats’

Winter Finally Decided to Show Up

With just days to go until spring, winter has finally decided to show up. The snow is forecasted to start falling within the hour and I’m hoping that this storm has been hyped up and we don’t get the forecasted 12 – 24 inches. The goats and chickens have been fed and watered and are hunkered down in the barn in fresh pine shavings.

This past weekend was a doozy. Over five Nubian kids were ready to be disbudded. Disbudding has to be the absolute worst part of owning goats. I hate it. Hate it! Thank goodness my sister and her finance are willing to do most of the dirty work for me. What is disbudding? It’s taking a hot disbudding iron and burning the area around the goat’s horns to prevent them from growing. Yeah, it’s as awful as it sounds. However, we’ve decided that it is necessary as we don’t want goats with horns for various reason and in order to register them they must be disbudded.

To top the weekend off, everyone has come down with the stomach flu. It’s been fun. I’m ready to get this snowstorm and flu over with and get on with spring.

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It is Always Three O’Clock in the Morning

Yesterday, it was easier to get up in the {very} early morning. The excitement of the day (Willow’s labor) was still pumping through me and I was eager to check on the new babies. This morning, not so much. But I’m up and the challenge now might be going back to sleep so I’m not completely exhausted all day. Setting in front of the bright computer screen probably doesn’t help, but there it is.

When I went out to the barn the little ones had started to stir and everyone was eager to get their bellies full. The littlest one – the little black buckling – suckles indiscriminately and wildly at any of the nanny’s teats that are offered to him. I think he’s got some catching up to do. Two of the others were just as eager, although preferred the comfort of their own mother, and two appeared to be annoyed that I awoke them from their slumber.

For me, it’s back to bed for a couple hours, then onto the hamster wheel. Good night morning.

Ultimately My Responsibility {Loss on the Homestead}

The feeling today on the homestead was melancholy. A dense mist hung low in the valley. Dampness saturated everything both intensifying the breathtaking orange and red hues of fall and creating an eerie stillness. Even our normally talkative animals seemed silent. The entire scene was quite fitting after the happenings the night before.

Yesterday morning, my husband went out to feed and water our four Nubian goats. Sassafrass was down and it was immediately obvious that something was wrong. I called my sister and we began some detective work. We separated her from the rest of the group and got her confortable and warm. We began going through the list of symptoms and the possible culprits. We consulted our vet. We treated her aggressively. As the sun went down, she was still not well but seemed to be holding steady.

Around 10pm, the night turned cold and rainy. Amy and I booted up and went out to tend to Sassafrass again. It was bad. Her head was down, her body was stiffening and her eyes were hollow. Within twenty minutes she was gone.

It is hard to lose an animal that you have raised from it’s beginning; especially one that has so much personality and one that we considered a pet more than livestock. We aren’t even sure why she got so sick. We believe that we did what we could for her, but in the end she got too sick, too quickly. I can only blame myself because what happens to the animals in my care is ultimately my responsibility. I guess the only thing to do at this point is try to learn and prevent it from happening again.

RIP Sassafrass.

Goat Shed & Chicken Coop Finishing Touches {Farm Update}

I’m taking advantage of the beautiful late summer weather and some vacation time to do work on some of the projects around the homestead. The goat shed is just a few screws shy of being done with our goal being to finish it this weekend. I’m so excited to head into winter with a finished barn. We’ve decided to hold off until spring with our large fence project and instead, we are going to add some temporary fence around the shed to connect that area with our goat pin. Since many of our building projects come to a halt during winter, we thought we would take advantage of the season to properly finish clearing the lot.

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While we were at it, we decided to give the chicken coop we bought used last summer a sprucing up. We painted it to match the goat shed and we are going to use some left over metal from the goat shed on the roof. It looks like a brand new coop.

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Sweet End of Summer {Farm Update}

The air was fresh, sweet and a bit nippy this morning as summer begins to wind down here in the mountains. The nights have been cool, queuing the leaves to turn from deep green to golden amber and burnt orange in the higher elevations.

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While this summer has seemed to fly by, it has been very enjoyable and relaxed. I have been resisting the urge to embark on any new projects and instead have been focusing on buttoning up what’s already been started. Read more

Summering Away {Farm Update}

In just two weeks school starts again. It’s hard to believe. It feels like summer just got started, especially with the rainy start the season got. May and June brought nothing but rain, with around 47 out of 50 days straight having rain. But the weather finally broke, and July has been sunny and hot. Here’s a quick round-up of what we have been up-to lately.

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The Mischievous Duo, Ginger & Gwen {Twin Nubian Doelings Born Last Week}

Over two years ago, I decided to make the leap into raising goats. To be honest, what peaked my interest in diary goats was the need for an alternative to breast milk after giving up breastfeeding my first little one following several terrible bouts of mastitis. Little Farmer T was diary obsessed, and still is, so I wanted an option that I controlled to ensure that it was hormone, antibiotic and toxin free. Diary goats seemed like the perfect answer.

Our four Nubians have been wonderful to raise. They are full of personality, and their friendly and gentle disposition make them the perfect farmyard companion for the kids. We introduced a buck into the herd last fall and after a successful breeding period, we are anticipating our first kidding season here on the homestead.

Gypsy, our first gal to give birth, delivered twin doelings last week. Now several days old, they are all legs, ears, and spunk.

My sister, Amy, and I have decided that we are going to go the milk-once-a-day route. We have numerous reasons for doing this. First, we need the flexibility in our schedules. Secondly, we can raise the kids with their mothers to elimination the need to bottle-feed and the cost associated with milk replacer. We understand that this option isn’t the best for maximum milk production, but since we will probably get around a gallon a day from a single morning milking of our four does, we should have more then we need to drink with a little leftover for making cheese, yogurt and soap.

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Welcome Heinz {Kidding Season is Underway}

Winter won’t release its grip, hammering us with ten more inches of snow overnight Sunday and into Monday morning. This winter has worn us down with week after week of extremely bitter temperatures, which is not only hard on a soul longing for summer but hard on the animals around the homestead as well. It seems summer just can’t come soon enough.

Before this last stormed rolled in, we did have a fleeting burst of fair weather, perfectly timed for the arrival of our third kid this season. Our mixed breed goat, Helen, came to our herd this past summer and this is her first kidding. A little buckling whom we named Heinz presented perfectly and was born mid-day Saturday.

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Three days later he’s strong and romping around his pin.

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In just ten days, the main herd, consisting of our five Nubians, is due. The anticipation is building and soon the homestead will be bustling with new life. Until then we will keep doing our best to will the thermometer to rise.

Two New Kids on the Block

Sorry, couldn’t help myself with the title.

Here at Cooper Run we survived the deep freeze, and the thaw… and the deep freeze again. Winters can be long around these parts and we are used to the snow; but this winter has seemed exceptionally harsh. While the snowfall has been below average, the temperatures have remained brutally cold week after week, with the occasionally warm-up thrown in. Just a few weeks ago we saw the temperatures dip as low as -25 (with a -50 degree wind chill), followed by temperatures in the 50s and downpours.

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The extreme temperatures forced us to take extra precautions with the goats; making sure everyone had plenty of fluffy bedding, checking for drafts in the barns and even running heat lamps when necessary. We expected most of our goats to kid early spring, but our newest addition, Jill, was bred before she moved into the herd and delivered two baby goats on January 22 as the thermometer read -4 degrees. Read more